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BETHLEHEM STAR The newsletter of Bethlehem Original Free Will Baptist Church

Joe Ard, Pastor

July-August 2012

Happiness is a choice that I make

Quarterly meeting

Bethlehem’s quarterly business meeting will be held on Sunday, July 15, at 6 p.m.

New life in Christ

Sierra Young was baptized into the family of God on May 27 by Rev. Joe Ard. Sierra is the daughter of Aleisha and Christopher Young. It was such a blessing to see the excitement on Sierra’s face after her baptism.

LEADING

Today is March 15, 2012. It was 15 years ago today that our precious Candice went on to live with the Lord. I thought life had changed when Stanley and I got married. I thought life had changed when John Grayson was born and again when Candice was born. I never knew just how much life could change until death knocked on my door as it did on March 15, 1997. It has been a challenge over the years and can still be one. I recently went with our church group to the Free Will Baptist Children’s Home. One girl living there made quite an impression on me. I called her Daisy and she is a true daisy. (Daisies happen to be my favorite flower.) I ate my lunch at the table where Daisy was sitting with the boys. She kept telling us the other girls there just wanted to be sad. They wanted to dwell on being sad and never look up. “But I choose to be happy,” she said. I immediately smiled and thought, this is what we should all do. Back to March 15, 2012. I got up this morning not knowing how to take this day. Most of time I am very emotional on this anniversary and this one is no different. I decided to go outside and work in Candice’s garden. It’s kind of like therapy for me — not to mention the garden really needed some attention. As I was working, I thought about Candice and the seven years we had with her. I then thought of another person who had lost a child. Others who had lost loved ones came to mind. I don’t know what it is like to lose my

UNITING

EQUIPPING

husband, or my mother. But I do know what it is like to lose a child. It is a hurt that is so deep I don’t believe I could hurt any deeper ever. I often think of Mary having to watch her son Jesus die on the cross for her and the entire world. I can’t even imagine. By now, you are probably wondering where all this is going, and to tell the truth, I am too. I just felt like I was working and thinking and that God wanted me to stop and write. So here I am, writing. My mind goes back to Daisy. She said, “I choose to be happy.” This is what I choose also. People used to say to me, “I don’t know how you do it, how you can continue on without your child.” With faith in God, faith that He has a much better plan for our lives than we can even imagine, we can all keep on going. God is on our side. We just have to join with Him. So “choose to be happy” with God. Remember, the love of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot receive you. — Rosa Craft

SERVING


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Bethlehem Star

July-August 2012

The Father will sustain, carry us

Perhaps one of the best Father’s Day illustrations is the story of Derek Redmond, a runner in the 1992 Olympics. Derek was competing for a medal in the 400-meter race. Less than halfway through the race, he ripped a hamstring muscle and fell to the ground in agony. While the rest of the runners moved past him, Derek managed to get to his feet and began struggling to move forward. Then something caught the attention of the television cameras. An older man wearing blue shorts and a Nike “Just Do It” cap pushed past a security guard onto the track. It was Derek’s father, Jim. At first Derek shrugged him away, saying, “I’m going to finish the race.” Jim told his son, “We’ve started everything together. We’ll finish this together.” He put his arm around his son and held him as they crossed the finish line together. The crowd erupted into thunderous applause; it has become a classic moment in sports. In fact, Oliver Irish, columnist for the UK-based “Observer” called it one of the top 10 “teary moments” in sports. He said, “Not many moments ... remain so poignant that they can reduce grown men to tears, but this is a bona fide weepy.” I saw a video of this event on YouTube. It was a power-

ful moment. This story challenges me, as it challenges all fathers, to do whatever I can to help my children finish the race. Even if they stumble along the way. You know, at times, we all stumble. In the book of Isaiah (46:3-4), God said... “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

God has committed himself by sending his son Jesus Christ to see to it we finish the Race...victoriously! What a loving heavenly father we have. Fathers, by God’s grace may we live with such strength, integrity, and commitment that we can say these words to our sons and daughters. Let them know they can count on us to be there for them at all times — especially when they stumble. — Preacher Joe

Bethlehem church contacts Pastor Joe Ard joe_ard@hotmail.com Deacon chairman Sherwood Fountain, 910-324-3018 Deacons Stanley Craft, 910-324-5915 Rick Dempsey, 910-324-1747 Darrell Edwards, 910-324-4280 Byron Fountain, 910-324-5016 Jimmy Fountain, 910-324-5268 Freddy Jones, 910-520-8715 Trustees’ chairman Danny Walton, 910-324-1934

• LEADING

Sunday school superintendent Rosa Craft, 910-324-5915 Youth director Susan Fountain, 910-324-581 Choir director Vernie Fountain, 910-324-5817 Children’s church Mallory Jones, 910-324-5899 Ladies’ Auxiliary & Prayer chain Elvis Fountain, 910-324-4637 Newsletter Jeri Fountain, 910-324-5268 jerifountain@yahoo.com

PEOPLE TO

JESUS •


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Focus on God even more when things fall apart

“The thought of my pain and my homelessness is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed. Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in him I put my hope.” (Lamentations 3:19-26) Sometimes in life we will encounter pain, problems, stress and difficulties. It may seem as if our world is falling apart. I have found in my own life that the biblical response is to focus on God and His love. It always takes the focus off of the problem at hand. Stressful situations can make us bitter and depressed just like they did Jeremiah in the scripture text. He was consumed by the devastation around him, but he did not stay there. Instead he had a mental switch and changed his thoughts. We make dumb mistakes when we start doubting God’s love. We start to think, “I know better than God, and I’m going to start choosing my way to do things rather than following God’s way of doing things.” I know personally that when we think like that we become miserable. We need to change our thinking. We need to remember, “The Lord is merciful and will not reject us forever. He may bring us sorrow, but his love for us is sure and strong. He takes no pleasure in causing us grief and pain.” Lamentations 3:31-33 So when you feel like you’ve lost everything, stop focusing on what’s lost and start focusing on what’s left: God and His love for you. Thank you to Caron Fountain for your email, which reminded me about where my focus needs to stay. Psalm

46:1 tell us that God is our Refuge and Strength and He is always there for us in our times of trouble. So when things seem to be falling apart around us, let us like Jeremiah change our thoughts and focus on God’s love. It is an amazing and powerful way to renew your mind! — Billie Ard

Condolences to the Danny Brown, Mike Bryan families

It’s been a hard few weeks at Bethlehem as we lost Mike Bryan to cancer on May 31 and Danny Brown to a car wreck on June 7. Our prayers and thoughts are with their families. John Michael Bryan Sr., born July 1, 1951, is survived by his wife, Harriet; daughter Heather Bryan Young and her husband Jason; and son John Michael Bryan Jr. Also surviving are his father, John W. Bryan; brother Robert M. Bryan and his wife Margot; and sister Linda Bryan Murphy and her husband Paige, all of Fountaintown. Grandchildren Casey Bryan, Taylor Bryan, Robyn Mitchell, Tina Coston, Clayton “Judd” Coston, AnnJelica McElroy and Kaleb Simpson also survive.

• UNITING

Daniel Michael Brown, born Aug. 16, 1951, is survived by his wife Carolyn; son Nathan Daniel Brown; daughter Meridith Brown Lanier and granddaughter Fallon Lanier, all of Fountaintown. Also surviving are sisters Barbara Nobles of Marion, Mary Hudson of Fountaintown, Donna Bell of Mount Olive and Lynn Carlyle of Morganton.

THEM TO THE FAMILY OF

GOD •


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Bethlehem Star

July-August 2012

God is everywhere, even on the ball diamond Many of you know that Britt and his friend coach a Little League baseball team made up of boys ages 8 to 10. None of these children, by the way, are our grandkids — even though we say we gain a dozen new grandsons each spring. (I am the Team Mema.) Before the second game of the season, one of the boys asked Britt if they could pray before the game. Britt and the other coach agreed it would be OK, and they went to a corner of the ballfield to pray. This has become a pre-game ritual since then, with a couple of the dads usually joining them. Sometimes one of the boys says the prayer, other times an adult will lead. A few weeks ago, the coach of the opposing team approached our assistant coach and said, “I see your team prays before each game. Would you mind if our team joined you in prayer today?” The two teams — 24 little boys and five men — gathered at home plate to pray before the game that afternoon! Some of the boys had their arms around each others shoulders and all heads were bowed in reverence during the prayer. I just stood there with tears welling up in my eyes (of course) and glanced around at the crowd behind

Honoring God: Players from the Hobbs Flooring and Piggly Wiggly teams pray before their Richlands Little League game. (Photo by Diane Dail)

the fence. It was amazing to see how many parents and others had their heads bowed in prayer with the boys. Since then, several other teams have joined us in prayer at home plate. Just this past week we heard that at games other than ours, other teams are praying before their games, too. Folks, God is not dead! He can show up at a Little League baseball game just as much as he does at a

church. I am so proud that we still have men and women who are willing to stand up and teach children that it is OK to worship God, no matter where they may be. I’m not sure how much the boys have learned about baseball this season, but I am hoping they take away a much more valuable lesson. God is with us, all the time. —Diane Dail

Humble heart, contrite spirit help keep the gate to heaven open for us

One time my pastor husband Norman preached a sermon about going to heaven. He made the statement, “The gate to heaven starts right here on earth.” We can be sure that when we die, we are not going to be able to just stand outside of heaven and have St. Peter open the gate. In Luke 17:21, Jesus said, “Neither shall they say, ‘Lo, here! or, Lo, there!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Our gate starts in our hearts. It starts as we accept Christ as our savior. We must be sure we keep our gate open.

• EQUIPPING

Luke 18:16 reads, “But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.” And Luke 18:17, “Anyone who does not have their kind of faith will never get within the kingdom’s gates.” (Living Bible). Pride and haughtiness can keep us out of the gate. “Is thy heart right with God, Washed in the crimson flood, Cleansed and made holy, Humble and lowly, Right in the sight of God?” (hymn by the Rev. Elisha Hoffman) —Margaret Ard

THEM TO SERVE

JESUS

IN THE WORLD


July-August 2012

Bethlehem Star

Church mowing schedule Please have the church yard mowed and trimmed for the Sunday listed. If your date is not convenient, please switch with someone else on the list. If there is a problem, please contact Danny Walton at 910-3234-1934.

July

September

August

October

1 - Danny Bryan 8 - Chris Byron 15 - Herb Ripley 22 - Vernie Fountain 29 - Dwight Wood 5 - Byron Fountain 12 - Sheldon Fountain 19 - Ronald Lanier 26 - Danny Walton

2 - Jan Jones 9 - Freddy Jones 16 - John Southerland 23 - Rick Dempsey 30 - Stanley Craft 7 - Jimmy Fountain 14 - Sheldon Fountain 21 - Dwight Wood 28 - Jan Jones

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July

2 - Chris Fowler 5 - Tony Strickland 9 - James Dail 9 - Tina Dail 10 - Byron Fountain 11 - Adrian Lanier 12 - Kenneth Pickett 15 - Peggy Williams 19 - Kimberly Fountain 21 - Dwight Wood 26 - Jordan Glegola 26 - Jordan Medlin

August

5 - Donna Fowler 5 - Candice Strickland 8 - Herb Ripley 8 - Cory Simpson 9 - Jo Wood

10 - Raye Southerland 11 - Charlie Brown 12 - Sarah Madigan 16 - Dineen Greene 17 - Devon Bryan 17 - Austin Whitehurst 18 - Jeremie Fountain 18 - Sandy Miller 20 - Randy Williams 23 - John Grayson Craft 23 - Brandon Brown 24 - Anna Bryan 24 - Judy Jones 24 - Bonnie Jones 24 - Carol Madigan 26 - Elvis Fountain 27 - Shelly Chase 29 - Meridith Lanier 31 - Heather Young

ANNIVERSARIES July Johnnie Albertson Tina Batts Chris Brock Danny Brown family Kelly Brown Michael Bryan family Nancy Bryan Sid Byron Pauline Edwards Clifton Fountain Helen Fountain Jimmy Fountain Joyce Fountain Wendy Fountain

Tilbie Hall Kirsten Holmstedt Faye Ives Pat James Geno Jones Louise Jones Reba Jones Cecil Raynor Geraldine Raynor Gloria & Ronnie Raynor Nancy Ripley Frances Voss Durwood Williams Jolly Williams

• BRINGING

6 - Devon & Anna Bryan 7 - William & Wendy Lanier 12 - Jan & Michelle Jones 21 - Sherwood & Ella Fountain 30 - Joe & Billie Ard

August

6 - Randy & Angie Williams 10 - Truman & Pam Waller 17 - Jimmy & Jeri Fountain 22 - Timmy & Jo Wood

If your special day isn’t listed, it means your directory entry needs updating. See Gail Walton.

HONOR AND GLORY TO

GOD •


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Bethlehem Star

July-August 2012

One week only! Nazareth comes Fountaintown

Bring the whole flock to Hometown Nazareth: Where Jesus was a Kid! You’ll travel back into Bible times without setting foot outside our community. Experience this fun, hands-on Bible-times village at Bethlehem Original Free Will Baptist Church at the Fountaintown crossroads. Each day, your family members can become part of history as they see, hear, touch and even taste what it was like to live in Jesus’ hometown. You’ll explore authentic marketplace shops, visit with Jesus’ mom Mary, take part in games, dance to lively songs, and sample tasty tidbits as you discover more about Jesus’ childhood. These experiences make God’s Word come alive with new meaning for all who participate. So mark these dates on your calendar: July 8-12.

The adventure starts at 6:30 p.m. and will end at 9 p.m. To register for this awesome Bible adventure, call 910324-3192.

Young people make a difference The offering collected during Vacation Bible School this year will be used to buy school supplies for the Children’s Home residents. Youngsters participating in Hometown Nazareth will be tie-dyeing bookbags that will be filled with supplies. Bethlehem youth make periodic visits to the Children’s Home to deliver supplies and treats and to share the love of Jesus.

Can you work like a dog?

Volunteers with strong arms and a willing spirit are needed to help put up the big tent starting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 5. The tent will be the site of dinner each night as well as tribe gatherings. Also needed are baby name books. Contact Diane Dail (910-324-3192) or Rita Fountain (910-324-5016) if you have book to spare.


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Children’s church workers build worship skills The Children’s Church ministry’s vision and mission is as follows: VISION: To teach and lead by example the gospel of Jesus Christ so that young people might know Him as Lord and Savior, become young disciples and go out and minister in His name. MISSION: To teach the gospel message through Bible stories, devotions, crafts and videos. To teach God’s plan of salvation. To teach young children to pray and worship. To teach young children to exercise their faith by being young disciples.

Children’s church helps to transition children ages 3-10 from the nursery into the adult worship service. We use games, crafts, Bible lessons, puppets, music and videos to teach God’s word to the children. Children are able to learn in many different forms that help them understand God’s word a little easier and keeps their interest. We have two different age groups, 3-6 and 7-10. We need volunteers in both age groups. If you don’t feel comfortable jumping right in and you just want to get your feet wet, you can start by helping out with the children by passing out snacks and helping make sure they are quiet during lesson time or just hang out to get the feel of it. Don’t think you have to know everything about the Bible to teach or work in this ministry. All you have to do is be willing to learn with the children. The best way to learn is when you have to prepare a lesson. It is one of the great ministries here at our church and people don’t realize how vital it is to the future of our church! It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are, you are welcome to be a part of this ministry in any way.

Feel free to contact me (majones22@gmail.com or 910340-5899) if you have any questions or concerns. We need help as soon as possible. — Mallory Jones Children’s Church Coordinator

Amazing human body is fearfully and wonderfully made God engineered the human body so our 206 bones, the heaviest part of us, make up only one-fifth of our weight. Yet bones are strong enough to protect and support every other cell, bearing the compression and tension we exert through ordinary activities such as walking and lifting heavy items. By comparison, wood snaps at such impact. And steel, strong enough to bear such force, weighs three times what bone does and would hinder our movements. No other matter strikes such a perfect balance between strength and weight. Furthermore, our bones are hollow — a big part of what reduces their weight — and the interior efficiently produces a trillion red blood cells each day. With the psalmist, we can proclaim to God, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14, NRSV). — from the Newsletter Newsletter


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2986 Catherine Lake Rd. Richlands, NC 28574

Bethlehem Star

July-August 2012


Bethlehem Star